There was no point chasing after her, he knew there was no chance in hell he would find her. Not when she had disappeared into God knows where without informing him.
Defeated, he returned to his house, hoping she would return soon and hoping he would be able to stay sane while he worried about her safety.
DEDE ARRIVED IN THE SMALL TOWN of Iseyin after what seemed like a drive to eternity. She did not waste time in going to where her beautiful secrets where kept.
The door to the house was wide open when she got there, there was no sign of life and except for the mobile phone on the table which she suspected belonged to one of the girls, nothing seemed unusual in the apartment.
Nervously, she glanced around the sitting room. The house was a small bungalow which sat in a large compound on a very peaceful street, a street which contained three to four other houses owned by retired policemen and school principals.
It had been one of the reasons she had chosen to buy the place and eventually keep her girls there. Nobody was likely to find them there and it was far away from the noisy and open part of the town. Also, the retired policemen secured the place and guarded it with their lives.
The phone on the table rang and she was scared, she felt like she was being watched and for the first time since she had been coming to that house, she actually glanced around, looking for hidden cameras.
When she seemed to find nothing extraordinary, she returned to where the phone was and grabbed it.
EHIME HAD CONVINCED HIS SUPERIOR TO ALLOW HIM BE THE ONE TO MONITOR THE CAMERAS in the house, initially his superior had declined vehemently because he liked to do things his own way and because he had already assigned the duty to one of his most efficient and trusted guys but Ehime had found a way to convince the older man that he had it covered.
He had agreed, allowing him to watch the CCTV cameras from their office in Ibadan. Ehime sat back now, his chubby hand forcing its way through a container of Pringles and his mouth noisily chewed the chips after.
He watched with sheer lust as she looked around the house as if aware of the cameras they had carefully hidden in the house when they went earlier. He relaxed his fat self on the chair he was sitting on, one hairy chubby hand on his big stomach and the other on the Pringles container.
He had longed for her body every single night after she had left many years ago and the more he had tried to reach for her, the farther she had gone. The Williams family had made it impossible for him to come close and the late chief Williams had made her his mistress and from then on, it had become very impossible to see her and touch her.
His manhood hardened as his eyes roamed that body he had touched as he willed nights after nights some years before while she was just a little girl, he shut his eyes for a quick second, remembering and reveling in the memories. She had grown into a beautiful sexy woman and he wanted to do more to her now than before.
“You must be insane if you think I will come anywhere”
He heard her voice now, that soft but firm voice made his heart race and his body respond in ways it had never responded to any woman.
“Give me those girls first!”
Her voice was getting tougher and colder, they had not expected her to be this defiant.
“Asshole!” she yelled and ended the call.
Ehime watched her storm out of the house and out of his watchful eyes, that made his heart sink because he did not ever want to let her out of his sight again. He knew she wasn’t going anywhere, because he had come here with a plan, to save her from the monsters that had been trying to kill her and have her to himself forever.
IT WAS THREE HOURS LATER THAT TONI GOT AROUND TO checking his phones and that was when he discovered his ATM card was missing. Initially he thought he had been robbed, but when he looked closer at the mail sent him by his bank confirming the withdrawal made from his account, he realized he might have an idea where the only woman who had the power to drive him crazy might be and without thinking he grabbed his car keys again, prepared to leave Lagos and go in search of her.
“Danjuma” he called as soon as he reached the gate. His gateman ran to him, eagerly waiting to be sent on whatever errand his boss wanted to send him on.
“Oga” he said with a slight bow.
“I might be gone for a few days, but take care of the compound and don’t let anybody come close okay?”
Danjuma flashed him a toothless smile, he raised his local gun and showed Toni, “Oga, dis one no be por shakara. Ip I shoot am por pesin dem go don reash heapen bepor dem sabi wetin do dem”
Toni nodded, he hoped the man understood what he meant and he hoped he knew it meant him carefully guarding his house. He got into his Jeep and drove out of the compound.
Danjuma watched his boss of three years leave, if only the man knew that he was fiercely loyal to him and he meant every single word of what he just said.
DEDE INCREASED HER PACE, GLANCING OVER HER SHOULDER EVERY SECOND to make sure she wasn’t being followed. Thrice, she had checked and thrice she had realized it was just paranoia, she wasn’t being followed. Not when she had gone to the ATM and not when she was running from the house.
But she still couldn’t shake the feeling she was being watched away, she had a convincing feeling someone was watching her but she couldn’t say how.
She was heading to a hotel in the town and she hoped she would be able to reach there before it got too dark, she wasn’t very familiar with the town and she still didn’t feel comfortable not knowing where her girls were.
The call she had received earlier had asked her to show up in some unknown location but she had disagreed, whatever they wanted from her, she would only give if she knew where her girls were.
She wondered if they had intentions to contact her if she had not had a premonition. She wondered if Toni had found out about her sudden disappearance and what he thought of her, she knew he would be more disappointed and she hoped he would not stay mad at her for too long.
She missed him, she missed his lips on hers, she missed his breath on her skin and she missed his eyes which sometimes grew cold when he was mad at her and warm when he made love to her.
He was the only man she had ever loved, the realization jolted her and it made her stop in her tracks. She had never admitted to herself that she loved Toni, she had never wanted to, she had never liked to tell herself she was that vulnerable. She wished she had given him a clue where she went and she wished she hadn’t been too silly to leave without leaving him an idea of where he could find her.
TONI HATED WHERE DEDE HAD PUT HIM, it was in a bad position. A position where he could sense she was in great danger but couldn’t help. No man wanted to stand without being able to do anything while the woman he cared a great deal about was in danger. Men liked to protect their women.
He liked to protect Dede.
He flashed his headlamps as he drove slowly into the little town of Iseyin, he had somehow found his way there and it wasn’t until he got there that it occurred to him that he didn’t know where exactly to find her.
What if she was just passing through the town and had long travelled through and arrived elsewhere? And she didn’t have a phone with her, he cursed the fate that brought that upon them.
It was late and he couldn’t really ask around for the bank where she had withdrawn cash. The small town had retired to bed and all he could see where empty stalls, narrow roads with goats and chickens lining the road while lazying around and squirrels trying to cross the road.
He decided to check the hotels in the town, maybe he would be lucky to find her in one.
DEDE HAD A THOROUGH BATH WHEN SHE ENTERED THE SMALL HOTEL ROOM she had rented for the night, she had barely sat on the bed when she heard a knock on the door.
Curiously, she waited, wondering who was at the door and why they had come. The knock intensified and when it seemed like it was not going away anytime soon, she asked who it was.
“From the reception”
The voice sounded vaguely familiar but she couldn’t place it immediately.
“I did not order anything now” she said.
“I brought toiletries for you”
She frowned, she had only found an half used soap in the bathroom earlier but she had not expected much from a hotel she had paid three thousand naira a night for and which was in the middle of Iseyin.
She stood anyway and unlocked the door, as the door opened, she gasped in shock as she found standing in the doorway someone from her ugly past, someone who made bile rise in her throat and the only person she hated more than Makun Bello, her cousin; Ehime Osahon.
TONI HAD NOT EXPECTED TO BE THAT LUCKY, the first hotel he had walked into had been the one housing Dede. He had walked into the reception, asked if they had any Dede lodged in and they had given him her room number.
He thought it was strange that they didn’t call her to ask if he could come in and that they just pointed her room to him. It was as if they didn’t bother about her security and that unnerved him. what if someone had been going to harm her, would they have easily pointed him the way too?
He intended to get her out of the town as early as possible in the morning, he didn’t care how serious she thought this was. She should have been leaving the country at the moment, not camping in a tiny hotel room in the middle of Iseyin.
His phone rang and he realized it was Funlola, he picked it as he raced towards Dede’s room, he couldn’t wait to see her and hold her and take her away from the danger he knew was lurking around somewhere.
“Funlola I am sorry a lot of things have happened today and plans cannot remain the same” he said calmly as if he wasn’t racing like a sprinter to Dede’s room.
“A lot of things have happened?” Funlola asked incredulously from the other end of the line, “Are you people even serious sef? Do you know the mountains I moved for you guys? What is the meaning of this nonsense ehn Toni?” she was angry and Toni couldn’t blame her.
“I have had enough of you and this woman, I have signed the divorce papers and I don’t want to have anything to do with you both ever again. Kilode gan? Do you know how I am being looked at right now?!” she hissed and hung up, in time for Toni to kick the door to Dede’s room open and see a bulky man on top of her, while she tried to wriggle free.
EHIME DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HIT HIM, he had been disoriented for the first few minutes and wasn’t given the chance to recover as blow after blow was sent his way.
He slowly stood and watched the man in front of him carefully, he didn’t recognize him but he knew he was someone close to his cousin, Dede.
Dede was holding him close, he had covered her with his shirt and she was crying like a little child. That brought memories to him, it was how she had cried nights when he had gone to her.
He watched the man who hit him, the hatred and venom in his eyes was immeasurable.
“You don’t know who you are fucking with” Ehime growled, Toni gently put Dede on the bed and faced him.
“And I don’t think you know who you are fucking with too” Toni said the coldness in his voice was almost as cold as ice.
Ehime smiled dryly and left the room. Toni locked the door after him, he walked to Dede and she threw her arms around him and sobbed like a baby.
“Thank you…thank you.” Was all she could manage to say.
TONI BARELY SLEPT THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT because he was watching her sleep, he knew he needed strength to drive back to Lagos in the morning but he also couldn’t sleep a wink not while Dede was in deep trouble.
Immediately it was 6am the next morning, he gently woke her. She smiled at him, kissed him on the lips and muttered, “please make love to me”
Not like he ever needed her to say the words before his body responded to hers and before his head were flooded with things he wanted to do to her, but hearing her say it the first thing in the morning while she laid beside him looking as radiant as the sunlight on a bright morning was simply a huge turn on.
He got on top of her, slid his hands beneath his shirt which was bigger than her and found her nipples. She moaned his name and said, “I’m sorry for running off…” but he didn’t let her finish, because he stopped her with a warm kiss.
She threw her arms around his neck and then set them free while they roamed his body and went down to his zipper. She was giving her all to him, the way she never had the two times they had made love. And heavens knew, he couldn’t hold back.
By the time he eased himself into her warm insides some minutes later, he knew nothing in the world could separate him from the woman, nothing…only death.
EHIME DID NOT SLEEP OVERNIGHT, he had plans he wanted to execute and the plans included killing Toni, grabbing Dede and disappearing with her to the Cotonou. He already had a place prepared for them.
From the dark where he stood, he watched them walk towards his car, jealousy welled inside of him as he watched Dede smile at him and gaze into his eyes like he was the only one who mattered in her world.
The hatred he had for Toni intensified and that was the push that sent him their way, gave him the energy and the strength to pin him to the car in seconds and send a knife driving through his chest.